How Long Has It Been?
Jeff LyleCrosswalk.com blogspot for Jeff Lyle of TransformingTruth
- 2015 Dec 03
Most of us have heard more times than we could ever recount how essential bible study is to a Christian’s spiritual health. Every discipleship course ever published highlights the need for God’s Word to be at work in our lives. We have scores of translations available in the English language. Apps, computer bible study programs and podcasts are available ad nauseum to provide opportunity to grow in our understanding of God. Yet, with all of these resources available to Christians, I want to make a statement that might give you occasion to think:
We tend to study downward into truths we already know instead of studying forward into matters wherein we lack clarity.
I am unsure if the average Christian today is truly experiencing spiritual growth. I know that sounds critical, but I have invested the last twenty-plus years in local church ministry, with eighteen of those being in a pastoral role, and my observation is that people simply settle into a premature comfort zone in their pursuit of knowing God. Perhaps a good diagnostic tool would be for us to consider the question: How long has it been since I have learned anything new about God?
“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” – Luke 8:18
Jesus indicates above that our continually submitted hearing, our teachability, is essential to our ongoing growth in wisdom. We will develop spiritually to the degree to which we appropriate truth. If we continue to listen and learn, additional knowledge and wisdom will be offered to us from God. If we do not take care concerning our own learning, not only will we not be offered anything more, we will eventually lose the profitability of that which we had formerly learned. Jesus teaches us that those who become lazy, stubborn or even rebellious concerning their call to be ongoing learners, will, in some unspecified way, forfeit what had been previously taught them. An unwillingness to remain perpetual students results in a spiritual regression and certain losses in our spiritual journey. It is not simply an issue of staying where you are when you do not continually seek to learn, Jesus promises you that you will go backwards.
So how long has it been since I learned anything new about God? We do not believe that we have exhausted His infinite character, do we? Surely we cannot lay claim to having arrived at a full understanding of His words, ways or works. Have we tapped out the total capacity of His promises to us? The bible speaks of “the unsearchable riches of Christ”, yet it seems that we may be guilty of acting like the search has come to an end and left us uncertain as to whether or not God may have more to offer us than what we have understood thus far. I’m thinking that we act like we are done. My personal belief is that most Christians who stop learning and growing do so because they find enough of God to suit the system of religion in which they operate. Crassly described, perhaps they feel that have enough of God to work for them where they are. Inherently self-focused, this approach to the Christian life makes us the center and makes God a resource to benefit us in our own lives. Conversely, the ongoing learner humbly acknowledges that he or she has infinitesimal understanding of God, and is therefore motivated to know Him more fully and intimately. God Himself is the perpetual learner’s pursuit, and those learners simply cannot be satisfied with what they learned yesterday, much less a decade ago. They are wisely convinced that there is vastly more to Him and there is no way their treasure hunt can end prematurely.
I hope you will be one of those treasure hunters. God delights in those who delight in Him. He intends to continually grow you until you see Him in glory. He will love you whether you want to ever learn anything new of Him or not, but He desires to bless you with a fuller disclosure of who He is. Be careful not to use Him to suit your own needs. Make it about Him and you will learn increasingly that He has, in part, made it about you. Taste and see that He is good and…taste and see it again. And again. And again.
He has something more to show us all. If you want to learn it, you will.